Distinctive product and getting the model right is the key to global expansion, said Kingfisher chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire.
Cheshire, who leaves Kingfisher in January, told the World Retail Congress in Paris that it was “much tougher in an internet world to be the seller of other people’s goods”.
He said: “For a genuine proposition retailer the world is more global.”
Cheshire was joined by Inditex chief communications officer Jesus Echevarria on a panel about international growth opportunities. Echevarria said that understanding the model for overseas growth was critical for success .
Cheshire agreed and, for those opting for a franchise partnership, said : “The quality of your franchisee is 90% of it.”
However, Echevarria urged retailers that they should “think globally but act locally”. He said that while Zara-owner Inditex, which has 6,200 stores in 88 countries, defines its strategy centrally it does adapt to the local market.
Fellow panellist Philip Mountford, the former chief executive of Moss Bros who now runs Dutch lingerie retailer Hunkemöller, said that it researches every international market and alters its prices.
He said it uses the Economist’s Big Mac Index, which tracks the price of a Big Mac in McDonald’s global locations, to help set prices in different markets.
Meanwhile, Echevarria said that having the right people in place was critical for Inditex’s expansion.
“The growth of this company in the last 40 years has been because of the people. Every business should be thinking about how to motivate your team and make them passionate about your brand.”